Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's a MAC Thing!!!

OK VP's...we've all been talking about the magic of the MAC...well that applies to its other products as the iPhone. Doc Vic has one of those tricky devices and also has some fun you can play while you waste all that free time you have gained because you transitioned to an efficient MAC computer!!! Yes! That thread is still going! Well she has a slot machine application on the phone and Brenda has been playing it as the chemo has been dripping away...anything to break up the boredom. Now our Vic also brought her new FLIP video camera to Houston and we shot this little chip of Brenda with the slot phone...check it out.


Nurse (MAC addict) Dee


Stage 1 is DONE!!!

Hi VP's...Our wonderful fill-in...Doc Vic...has gone back to her daily grind, her cool little dog Andi, and her poor partner with the broken, throbbing arm. Thanks Cal for letting her come take care of Brenda, and of course, thanks Vic for being such a dear friend. It was perfect timing for all those doctor appointments to be able to translate their medical "bullets." When I'm here at those appointments I just sit there with a glazed over look in my eyes saying "What did he say? And what on earth does that mean?" All you non-med folks out there in VP-land know exactly what I'm talking about. GEEZS!

So last night Brenda finished the final round of chemo in this "stage" of her CURE. She came up with this fantastic plan to break all these treatments into "STAGES" so she could feel like something was completed and the path didn't look so never ending. YEA! We've actually finished something!!! We'll know more in the days ahead, but we're thinking that the next stage will be the surgery, then chemo/radiation combo, and then the final stage (we hope) will be "GOING HOME!!!! Now all this is subject to change but we're no stranger to that situation.

I thought I'd include some pics in this post so you could see our gal. She looks a tad puffy in the face in last few nights pics because she's full of fluids and they give her a bag of steroids on the first night which puffs ya up. I also wanted you to see how much she enjoys the if you want her to keep that infectious laugh going...look at that picture...keep blogging.

So folks...time to get the laundry and the apartment cleaning done, and then try and figure out what on earth Brenda can eat today. She's really got that overwhelming metal taste in her mouth again...NASTY.

Keep smilin and be thankful for all the great things you have in your lives. Thanks for helping us so'll just never know how much your contact means to both Brenda and I.

Nurse (Back in Action) Dee

Some VP's Visit Taliesin, Wisconsin

Hi from Taliesin,

A loud shout out to all of you converted Mac!! This is a MacBook Air that travels with me and is about to reveal a photo of our fab five who took an auto adventure to Taliesin, Wisconsin to see Frank Lloyd Wright's former home and studio. If you're a reader, a must pick is
Loving Frank, the story of Frank's love affair with Mamah Cheny. This home, Taliesin, was built for them to share, although there's a sad ending. Okay, on behalf of our beloved Brenda, we're showing our strong support while inside the gift shop by selecting our favorite Taliesin tie. It comes with our love and healing karma.

Following our tour of Frank's house, architectural studio and grounds, we headed to a the local shops, leaving our 'finds' to collect following our dinner at Pedro's. After wonderful Mexican selections and several pitchers of margueritas, we returned to Chicos to collected the waiting wares. Is the smile a little wider and the giggle a little

Love from all to all (left to right),
Bonnie, Vicki, Jackie, Linda (kneeling) and Jill 

Friday, May 29, 2009


OK...who out there in cyber land is a MAC user? Let me see those hands. I screamed out loud when I heard this news. NO FOLKS! I wasn't screaming in disgust because the girls jumped ship...I was screaming in DELIGHT because the girls finally jumped ship!!! I have been a MAC user since 1991 and just don't know why the world still uses PC's. This is music to a MAC addicts the MAC/PC commercials...they really say it all. Congrats Michele, Karen, Kim and Wenda. Amanda...are you smilin? Thanks for leading them out of darkness to the light. HA! Now lets SKYPE! If some of you didn't see Michele's it is again with proof of the mutiny.

Dee and Chemo Sabe,
HI ladies - Well Kim and I have some news to report. I feel a little awkward using the blog to report this as it represents making this type of change for the first time in over 20 years. Wendy and especially Karen, are not adapting to the news very well, so I will try to tread lightly. First a little background.
Cate and Amanda spent this past weekend in NYC. The Jersey girls, Kim, Wendy, Karen and I hooked up with them for a fun filled weekend. That was the plan anyway - nothing major just go with the flow and have fun.
That pretty much sums up how things were going. We had dinner on Friday talked about friends, life, family and the benefits and challenges with all of those topics. Very deep discussions peppered with a little bit of laughter.
Those conversations continued as we toured Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty on Saturday. In fact, Amanda made some very compelling points about the pitfall of staying in the same place, doing the same thing whilst expecting different results. I think she said it was the definition of psychotic. She was such a facilitator of change that she immediately got us an appointment with an expert to help us work out the finer points of any transition being contemplated. After all there are a lot of things to think about since people, finances and home arrangements are all considerations .
The result, I really am not happy with the status quo and in fact less happy with what were supposed to be positive changes. I made the decision, I need to make a change and need to do it soon. Needless to say Saturday was a relatively sleepless night. 
Our house guests, Cate and Amanda were very supportive of my decision. Who knew, when we called Kim and Wendy in the morning, they were having the same conversations and needed to make a change as well. We met for brunch to see Cate and Amanda off as they traveled back home and Kim and I were left to sort out how we would individually and collectively manage the transition. 
This past weekend, KIM and I made a decisionNot sure what you all were thinking but the news I have to share is that we each (individually) purchased iMACS.;-) 
The struggle for Karen and Wendy is the move from PC based Microsoft Windows to the MAC OS. That shift has Karen very worried. I understand Wendy has adapted a bit better. Perhaps it is the result of her "CEO job" (tee hee) being less demanding than Karen's nursing responsibilities. Or maybe Kim allows her time to use the MAC. Regardless, we have moved to the enlightened side and I am sure once we get through the differences we will all be fine. That's where the self help books are coming in handy.
My MAC buddy, Kim, keeps asking why she has not made this move before. I'm speechless. I thought Vista would be the solution MicroSoft promised, instead it turned out to be worse than any other piece of software I have ever purchased. An additional bonus is I have a lot more real estate on and under my home office desk in spite of the fact the monitor is MUCH larger than my PC based desk top. No tower and one cord, period; that is a beautiful thing and the one benefit that already has Karen thinking positively. She HATES clutter. Best of all, within one half hour of taking the computer home, it was up and running, with all my PC based files transferred - seamlessly!!! Amanda and Cate thank you for opening our eyes to a better way. 
Kim, my MAC buddy, next lesson with Nurse Dee - "skyping" - are you ready???

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

A Surprise Visitor

Hi Everyone...I just got through SKYPING with Brenda and Vic. That is so much fun to do. If you don't have a computer with a should get one. Brenda looks great and I can see that the tumors in her neck have even gone down more since I've been gone. Maybe it's me leaving!!!! NAW!!!

Brenda and Vic had a wonderful surprise visit from Jackie (part of the infamous Tahiti Pod) this evening. She brought a goodie package full of wonderful things. Thank you soooo much Jackie and Helene. Check out the photos.

Doc Vic wrote another medical update on todays visit with the Rad/Onc Dr. Here's the bullet.

Not too much news today but no kicks in the gut either (thank God for that).  Yesterday was tough.  Today was a little shopping excursion (Brenda picked out shoes for me to wear to my niece's wedding next month) followed by lunch out. Then we went to the medical center for a blood draw and an appointment with the radiation oncologist.  There were no major plans made there because she needs to finish round three of chemo (that starts tomorrow for three days).  After that she will most likely be scheduled for the neurosurgery in a few weeks (if the PET scan tomorrow is good).  We got a lot of questions answered by the rad/onc nurse.  The radiation won't start until she's healed from any surgery and that takes about four weeks.  Surgery won't occur until a few weeks after round three of chemo.  Then radiation will be five days a week for six to seven weeks.  Head and neck radiation is tough because your throat gets so sore and it hurts to swallow. Staying hydrated and not losing weight are very important.  We're looking at an all summer proposition here folks. Brenda is very strong but the enormity of it all is wearing on her.  Keep your thoughts and prayers flowing.  Keep the cards coming, she gets a big smile on her face when she gets them in the mail.  Please post comments on the blog.  It is very uplifting when she reads them.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Medical Update

Hi VP's...As you might remember, the union nurse is back on break in Arizona. Our dear, dear friend Vicky (internal medicine doc from Pittsburgh) volunteered for duty while I was home trying to keep this house running. This was the week that Brenda is seeing all her doctors who are weighing in on the recent CT scans and what to do next. They will give their input to Dr. Hong and he'll decide which path to take. Since Vic was there with Brenda when she had her appointments today, she wrote and excellent medical "bullet" for you all on how today's appointment went. Here's the update:

Brenda's lymph nodes are significantly smaller.  Her white count is good and she won't need additional neupogen for this round. This morning she saw Dr. Hanna (an ENT surgeon who specializes in cranial base lesions). He did a fellowship at UPMC in Pittsburgh.  His concern is a spot on the CT scan about the size of a penny. They cannot determine if it is up against the brain (the front part behind and slightly above the nose) or through the membrane that covers the brain (the dura). If it hasn't penetrated the dura it's less complicated.  

Dr. Hanna is proposing a neurosurgical procedure to remove that lesion. That would be done by a neurosurgeon.  It would involve an incision behind the hairline from almost ear to ear.  Then they fold down the skin and make a bone window to gain access to the lesion.  They then repair the defect with her own tissue.  It's on the surface of the brain so they don't have to cut through brain tissue to get to it (that's a good thing). It's also not in an area of the brain that controls speech or movement etc. They will be scheduling an appointment to see the neurosurgeon.  If she has that surgery (because all of this is subject to change) she would be in the hospital for five days.

The blip in all this is a CT scan of the chest that showed a "prominent" diaphragmatic lymph node. It did not show any suspicious lesions in the chest, just a lymph node by the diaphram muscle that is prominent.  We see reports like this all the time in medicine and usually they are nothing. They are going to do a PET scan to look at that.  If it lights up it's suspicious.  They are very thorough here and are leaving no stone unturned.

This afternoon she saw Dr. Gillenwater. She's the ENT doctor that saw Brenda when she first got here.  She confirmed that the nodes are shrinking. She also said if they have to surgically remove any of the larger lymph nodes in her neck they would probably schedule both surgeries at the same time.

Tomorrow she sees the radiation oncologist and maybe the neurosurgeon if they can get her in. Then a big day on Thursday.  She will have a PET scan at 9AM, an audiology appointment at 1:30PM and chemo for 7 hours beginning at 3:30PM.  Then Friday another round of chemo in the afternoon.

Hope this helps,

Vicky (AKA: Ribby)

So there you have it...the ping pong balls are still in the air, but like Vic says...they really leave no stone unturned at MD Anderson and that's exactly what Brenda needs. We're going to nail this thing!!! Can you all say CURE!!! Remember those words the psychic said..."Good as New!"

Vic will send another update to me tomorrow and I'll get it posted when the radiological oncologist weights in. Keep those prayers and good energy going Brenda's way...they are helping her heal.

Fix-It Dee


Saturday, May 23, 2009

The True Blue Bonnet Revealed

Many of our Tahitian Pod Bloggers keep talking about "Blue Bonnet." For those of you who are wondering if we talking about margarine, the answer is NO! Blue Bonnet is a fellow traveler who has very sensitive skin that cannot be exposed to the sun. Now this persons skin might not like the sun, but the traveler really loves the ocean and beach so they have developed a sun-resistant clothing strategy to deal with this situation...Clever! We have wondered WHO this traveler was because all we see is a blue creature walking and wading around. Bonnie and Jackie as well as Jeannie have finally found out the true identity of our mystery traveler when they caught her in Tahiti unmasked. Here's the evidence. Jeannie got this photo of Michele. Here's what she had to say:


Michele has attempted to divert the Pod from the truth about
Blue Bonnet by making a half-hearted parody of herself. Attached is
the true unmasking of BB.


Michele...what say thee. We all KNOW you have SOMETHING to say.

Nurse Dee is home again on union break getting the garbage disposal fixed, taking care of a friends dog ( I LOVE this part!), getting the filters on the RO system changed, getting the air conditioners serviced...SUMMER'S coming to AZ, getting the desert bugs killed, getting a blood test, going to the doctor for my annual physical, cleaning the house, doing laundry...well you get my drift...yea right...a relaxing union break!! All I can say is...HA!!! Doc Vic and Brenda are hooping it up in Houston...that's good for as she would say..."It's all good."


Nurse (on break) Dee

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Michele's "Big Texas" Entry

VP's...Yet again our one and only Michele has submitted a marvelous photo for our Texas Contest. I've also added a photo of the "Original Olivia Blue Bonnet" so you know the look that Michele was trying to achieve. You've almost got it nailed Michele...if you keep working on it, I know you'll achieve the essence of this utilitarian look. Here are Michele's comments:

So another photo for the "Big Texas" theme.  See I do take poetic license and change things to suit my needs or in this case photo gallery. We are all familiar with the commercial "Everything's better with Blue Bonnet on it" right? Well, I now have proof.  But like a cheap 3AM infomercial, that's not all. This is a multi purpose outfit that just has so many hidden messages:

#1. It is a Blue Bonnet - ring a bell for any of the Olivia travelers?

#2. I am "completely" covered from the sun.  See above reference to Blue Bonnet.

#3. It has a chin strap because a girl never knows when she will need one :)

#4. It is a big hat - hence my segway to the Texas theme.

#5. I get to channel my inner  "fly girl" - not pilot - rather the insect.  Apparently, I can be a bit of a pest at times - who      knew?

#6. I get to stop picking on Kim and Wendy, if for only one day.

#7. And finally, it keeps Chemo sabe and Dee laughing.  If we can do that at least once a day than life is good.

 Yes...all these are wonderful medicine and we laugh a lot with all these pictures and comments...please, please, please keep em coming. Don't make a grown woman, run ragged by her nursing duties, beg!!! 

Nurse Dee

Sentencing the Guilty

Michele just sent me the final sentencing of those guilty Aussies and their accomplice Karen. Check it out:

So Wendy challenged me and failed.  Of course there has to be repercussions.  In this case, off to jail at the Irish Famine Monument in NYC.  Not only did she go down (no pun intended) but she also took down the Yankee cap, Kim and Karen.   

Wendy has already had a run in with NYC law enforcement when she tried to use expired tickets for a transit ride. This is number 2 Wendy. I think the life of crime is NOT your calling!!!  

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Brenda's Latent Talent Discovered

VP's...I don't know how they do this, but Bonnie and Jackie have discovered another latent talent of Brenda's. I've been living with her practicing at all hours of the day and night and I'm so delighted that the secret has finally been uncovered. Now when we're all on vacation together you can encourage our girl to go up on the Olivia stage and "blow a few bars!" Somehow that just doesn't sound quite right. Early in Brenda's discovery of her love for the harmonica, she did have an American Idol try-out, but alas, she blew it!!! (Puns are so much fun!) I still don't know how these gals found out Brenda's secret...perhaps they heard her practicing in our room on the Paul Gauguin. Here's what Bonnie and Jackie had to say:

With the American Idol finals playing in the background (what a surprise, Chris just won; Adam was the favorite), we would like to offer a viable contestant for the next season. Although her musical style is a spin off from the singing tradition, Brenda's harmonica skills are exceptional. See what you think! There must be a way to add music to the photo (believe me I've tried), but the link below the photo will have to work so that you can hear Brenda's performance of "Home on the Range". Now, she's been practicing quite some time, so please give her the respect that she's due!

Love, Bonnie and Jackie

Nanuck of New Jersey

VP's...Karen and Michele really got into the hat theme and have continued to explore that venue using the very striking pinl NY Yankees all know that story...we got Dr. Hong's team wrong so we jumped ship and how have Boston Red Sox paraphernalia...sorry you Yankees fans. Michele wrote this about poor Karen:

Okay, a little background:
Here is another excerpt from the NYC trip.  It was about 85 degrees in New York city when we took this tour.  It was an absolute gorgeous day and one where we thought the NY Yankees cap would shine.  To that end, we tried to highlight the cap as much as possible.  
I first feel compelled to qualify that when I say trip, it really means we took the PATH across the Hudson River to NYC from NJ.  It is a 15 minute trip.
Now for Kim and Wendy, when these gals first came to the USA, co-workers directed them to the PATH; they just forgot to tell them it was a train, not a walkway.  Who knew Australia (from this point forward known as OZ) was so literal?  So to be clear, PATH is a four letter acronym for Port Authority Trans Hudson - it's a train!!.  Okay class over, I'll get on with the photo description.  Kim and Wendy - you are safe for now.  Karen, put your seat belts on.
Most of you know my partner Karen (AKA McGuyver/ AKA Poor Karen).  I know her as a great sport that tolerates me unconditionally, which is not always an easy thing to do.  I also know her as someone that I can talk into just about anything and this photo is yet another example.
So let's review, 85 degrees in NYC and we (yes - Kim and Wendy were a part of this one) convince Karen that she should take the NY Yankees cap to Antarctica (work with me here).  As imaginations wander, we wondered - how would a girl dress for such a trip.  Poor Karen.  So we went to Paragon Sporting Goods  for an outfit.  This particular parka weighs about 20 pounds (9 kilos in OZ).
Well, as you know my attention waxes and wanes and I am easily distracted.  So we start to dress 'poor Karen' in this get up and my job was to take the photo.  Sounds easy, but the buttons and zippers and all the prep - well I got impatient and wandered.  Unusual I know, but I did.  Soon Kim joined my wandering and then Wendy.  
The three of us looked at outdoor clothing, luggage, jackets, bicycles, camping equipment, etc.  It felt like an hour passed before I asked - "hey did anyone see Karen".  It was at that moment we heard this faint call "guys? guys are you there"?  "Michele? Kim? Wendy? anyone - help", "this coat is so heavy I can't move and I'm melting - guys? - anyone?".  
Oh man, that wandering was hard to explain.  It got worse when I asked if she was still up for posing for a photo; especially when I asked her to smile for the shot (Chemo sabe - she was the clear smile was for you - not me).  As you can see she did a great job, but boy was she perturbed.  Just a note for the law enforcement folks on the blog - she did threaten my life.  Perhaps justified, but a threat none-the-less.  Just in case I should accidentally show up wandering on the PATH under the Hudson River, inappropriately dressed in an Antarctica Parka.  A big clue - look at Karen and the girls from OZ.

Keep em comin Michele...we were in hysterics this that laughter. It's so good for the soul and anything that ails you. look flushed!

Nurse Dee

Michele Presents the Evidence

Wendy...some very compelling evidence has been presented by Michele but it's your time for rebuttal. That's only fair. So what do you have to say? For the blog's what Michele said: 

Really??  Questioning me - that was actually Karen you heard gasp (and maybe me a bit.  :) This blog is a tough crowd.

I know that I take poetic license with stories and facts, but in this case let's look at the photo sans the sombrero.  
Just for the record - we knew you as the girls from OZ that Brenda met in Barbados.  At the time you wore blue and red caps.  We liked you because they were Yankee caps.  However, over time, I have learned your identity (unless you are now going to switch ).  So hopefully I did get this right otherwise this upcoming weekend is going to be awkward and I'll have to bring the name tags, whine and wine.  
So, for the objective folk on the blog - the facts and nothing but the facts.  This is a photo of Karen in blue - I would know her anywhere. The lovely Kim in the white blouse with the vertical stripes; and oh my is that Wendy with a red blouse and horizontal stripes??????  And for those of you that do not know me, I am the one on the end in the orange blouse - cute right?.  
Now let's examine - is that the same red horizontal striped blouse the model with the aforementioned yellow hat and suspect polka dot purse was modeling???  Don't let the shades fool you - that is Wendy!! Coincidence - I think not.
Shhhh, quiet.  Did you all hear that?  I think I heard an "I'm sorry in Australian".  For the punishment, I prefer beer - thank you very much.  I like light beer so I keep my girlish figure.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Aussie's Cry FOUL!

VP's...I got this note from Windy with an "E." It appears there is some dispute over the gal in the yellow hat....hummmmmmm! Could Michele actually be mistaken with the identity of this hat-wearer? Here's what Wendy wanted you all to know:

THIS ISN”T A PHOTO OF ME……….I think there has been some sort of mistake (I just heard Michele gasp). I offer the following as evidence.

1.  I never wear vertical and horizontal stripes at the same time – anyone who knows me knows I would never make such a faux pas

2.  I would not be caught dead in vertical stripes and polka dots or horizontal stripes and polka dots, let alone vertical stripes, horizontal stripes and polka dots at the same time (try saying that out loud….what a mouthful!!)

3.  I never, ever wear yellow. I’m a gold girl with diamonds added for sparkle

4.  I can’t wear big hats……….I seem to get lost in them. Caps are more my style

5.  I don’t wear a hat when I’m out because I suffer badly from the after effects, eg: hat hair!

6.  I would never just try on a hat……what if the last person that did had nits!

7.  I am very shy and would never think of doing such an attention drawing thing like trying on such a silly hat

8.  OK if you didn’t believe the last one….I’m an exhibitionist (and in good company given the entries in the hat competition) and therefore would make sure my fat little cheeks were on display (maybe I should have said face instead of cheeks!)

So it’s rather obvious that as hard as it is to believe, MICHELE has made a MISTAKE, an ERROR, a BLOOPER, a BLUNDER, a GOOF in saying this is a photo of that lovely Aussie named Wendy with an ‘E’.

I accept apologies in writing Michele. As is a case of wine just in case I can’t understand your American version of an apology!


Monday, May 18, 2009

Windy's Aussie Fashion Statement

Our very creative and hilarious Michele is on a roll. Michele we absolutely LOVE these posts from you...we look forward to them and the big smiles they always put on our faces. We especially LOVE when you translate the language and actions of our dear Aussie friends...God love 'em!!! This is definitely a new Texan fashion statement from our WINDY!!! 

Here's some comments:

The Aussies wanted dearly to participate in the "hat contest".  You all saw their submission - "beach cap with flowers" submitted back in April.  That hat was modeled by the lovely Kim.  
Now we are learning that Wendy is apparently very competitive and wanted her own entry.  Still struggling with the language differences between Australia and the US, Wendy translated Texas to mean country.  I thought about reviewing geography and the differences between states and countries, but after careful consideration, I changed my mind. I choose my battles wisely and thought the geography lesson would be an up hill battle since they hail from a country that is also a continent.   

Anyway, Wendy channeled "Minnie Pearl" (the country piece) to submit this entry in the Texas contest.  Her rationale, the hat is large, as is Texas.  Minnie Pearl was country, which is also associated with Texas. She updated the concept a bit to portray the progressive nature of Australia and left the security tag on versus the price tag.  Clever modification Kim. Sounds prudent so far, but look closely.  Our friend actually thought the vertical stripes on the hat would work with the horizontal stripes on her blouse.  That is just plain silly.  Oh, and what is up with the polka dot purse in her right hand????  I did not even want to ask but perhaps you all are a lot braver than me and will make the appropriate inquiries (enquiries in Australian - goodness - it is hard being bilingual).
More to come.

Windy...we love your submission but really...pooka dots and stripes??

Nurse Dee and Chemo-sabe

Yankees VS Red Sox

Mornin VP's...Brenda and I hope this post finds you all well. We had a good weekend. Brenda had a little more energy and so we got to walk around the big shopping center here in Houston...The Galleria. Man! That place is huge! We love to shop and it was great to get out of the apartment. 

Brenda is doing well and like before, her energy gets a little better each and every day. Besides the horrible taste of most foods she loved before all these CURE chemicals and the fatigue, there are minimal side effects. She's feeling some of the effects of that Neulasta shot...low back and hip pain and a burning feeling on the tops of her feet...but all these are tolerated.

Our good friends Michele, Karen, Kim and Windy (Aussie-speak for Wendy!!!) were in NYC several weeks ago and they sent us this story and picture. I wonder what else they have up their sleeves? HUMMMMMMMMM! Keep em coming Michele...we LOVE hearing your stories and your posts.

Here's what she had to say:

A few weeks back, Karen, Kim, Windy and I went to NYC for the day.  We toured a few neighborhoods and purchased what we thought would be a good gift for Brenda's oncologist - a Yankee Baseball cap.  So I know you are thinking - Wow what could possibly beat that?  I know, I am trying to figure that out as well, but it is pink, and pink is associated with the cure for cancer .  Put them both together and we thought we found the perfect gift.  
Then horror of all horrors - her doc is a BOSTON RED SOX FAN - oh my god.
Well, my friends, I am a die-hard Yankee fan.  For those of you from the east coast, you know there is no love lost between the Yankees and the Red Sox.  We just don't mix well.  Kind of like gun powder and a match.  
Now I know this blog is not about the Yankees.  It is about Brenda and Dee and keeping the laughter flowing while Brenda gets well.  I just hope that what Brenda's oncologist lacks in selecting sports teams he overcompensates for in his medical expertise as he cure's our gal.  
As the week goes by and my travel schedule permits, I'll send some photos of "the hat" and the gals in NYC.
Boston Red Sox - that's ridiculous!!!

That's what we like to see...some good ole American's a free country...well ALMOST!! (Inside joke!) To each his!

Hey...we know there are lots of "LURKERS" out there...let's hear from you!!!   

Friday, May 15, 2009

Channeling Her Inner Texan at an Early Age

VP's...Brenda's Mom finally confided a little known secret about Brenda...and we have the evidence to prove it! It seems that Brenda has actually been a frustrated Texan since early childhood. As you all know she has a deep devotion to the Lone Ranger and Tonto. Although she is currently playing out her "Tonto" personality, in her youth, she was fixated on working on her "Lone Ranger" personality. She even went so far as to secretly purchased a white cowboy hat to truly channel the essence of the masked man.  

But it took Brenda's Mom a number of years to be able to photograph Brenda with the evidence of her internal desire. And I actually thought that Brenda didn't like cowboy hats! Ha! What do I know...she has one hidden away in the closet somewhere and wears it when I'm not around., I'm sure of it. 

The Lone Ranger thing has obviously been going on for quite a number of years...after all she went into law enforcement and stayed in the profession for over 22 years. It's a little known fact that the Lone Ranger had his early roots in Texas and that's where our Chemo-sabe has secretly wanted to be! Who would have known!!

Thanks Mrs. Van Amburg for sharing this little know fact about this early Brenda alter-personality. HUMMMMMMMM! She certainly is a woman of many talents!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pre Survivor Party

VP's...if you haven't guessed from my posts last week...Brenda and I are HUGE "Survivor" fans. And YES!!!...Coach got kicked out of the jungle this week. We're so happy. Well we have a tradition that we started when my brother was living with us. It's called Pre-Survivor "NUMMY." Now that is different than our "Survivor Finale Celebration," but we both got a sweet attack this afternoon and it ended up with...a NUMMY! 

Girls gotta do what girls gotta do. It's a good sign that our Chemo-sabe is reviving a tad. Check out the photos. 

Hope you're all doing great.

Nurse (Burp) Dee Ha!

Steel Cowboy

VP's...One of our favorite commentators is back from the beaches of Columbus Isle, and has caught up with her work enough to send us some thoughts on the new Texas Project!! Take it away Michele...

Okay - a little funny...

I'm looking at the pictures of our 'Pittsburgh Cowboys' and thinking, shouldn't that be Pittsburgh Steeler's or perhaps Dallas Cowboys? Something is wrong here.
It is at that moment that my little mind goes right to the Bon Jovi song - "Wanted dead or Alive".
There is a line in the song - "on a steel horse I ride...." Yes, for those of you that know me, my minds' eye went to a vision of Vic and Cal riding a steel horse. Now I do not have any photos of them riding a steel horse, just a vivid, warped mind.

What I do have is a picture of a Steel Cowboy. This photo was taken during a hike Karen and I took with our lovely friend Helene when we were in Prague waiting for the rest of the travel Pod.  
As you can see it was a gorgeous day and after we hiked up and down about fifty hills (Helene is from Norway and "Loves" to hike).  We were walking around the top of a hill and spotted this little COWBOY on a rooftop patio. 
HA - beat that Texas!!

Love it Michele...This picture made us think of having a know it that culinary roulette thing! Bren said she thought she might be able to get one down so tomorrow we'll see what we can do about finding a good burger. YUMMMM!

All is sleepily progressing here in apartment #414. We did have to go over to the clinic this afternoon for my PICC line dressing change test, had to get some scripts, get some meds from the pharmacy, and pick up dressing supplies. So we did a fair amount of walking, but our gal made it...slowly...but she made it. I offered to drive her around using a wheel chair, but she wanted to walk. She's definitely my hero. OH! Doctor'd be proud of me...I passed the test with an A+. Our supervising nurse was fantastic.

Keep smilin...and if you can't do that...go to sleep!

Nurse Dee

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Cowboy Gals from Pittsburgh

VP's...we got another entry in the TEXAS contest from Vic aka (cop-speak for "also known as...") Dr. Beaver Inspector. This was really a fun time and they sure DID surprise me...enjoy! Here's what Vic had to say along with her post and pictures:

For the Texas contest, I'd just like to say that Cal and I were cowgirls long before it was fashionable. This photo was taken on Dee Dee's 60th birthday (we won't tell how long ago that was).

We flew in from Pittsburgh to surprise her (and it's not easy to put one over on peeker!)  Brenda was in on it of course. The plan was that Brenda would take Dee to dinner at Cowboy Ciao in Scottsdale for her birthday. We flew in that day and Lynn picked us up at the airport (our flight was due at 3:15 PM and dinner was at six). 

Of course on the flight out there was an in flight announcement (by a panicked flight attendant asking if there was a doctor on board). I was in the back of the plane and ran to the front along with a male passenger. He was a nurse and I was the doctor (you have to love that part.) Anyway we get to the front of the plane and there is this 80 something lady slumped back in her seat wearing a royal blue outfit that exactly matched the color of her lips! Her eyes were rolled back in her head and she was just coming around as we got to the seat. Apparently she stood up and passed out. We gave her oxygen and took her vitals. Her blood pressure was about 80/40 and she was nauseated. 

Within a couple minutes her pressure was up to normal and the blue lips went away.  She was fairly healthy and took her blood pressure pills that day and probably didn't drink much so when she stood up her BP dropped and she fainted. She kept insisting she was okay and I sat next to her for the rest of the flight.  She almost threw up on me but we got the barf bag out in time. I was fairly certain it was nothing serious but she was old and you can never know for sure. 

Good samaritan laws aside, you can still get sued for helping someone if there's a bad outcome. So, when the flight attendant said, "Doctor, the captain would like to know if you think we need to make an emergency landing?" I had to swallow hard.....after all we had a surprise party to get to. I asked how long until we get to Phoenix and the answer was 55 minutes. I looked at the blue lady and I looked at my watch and thought,  "I can do CPR for 55 minutes ! " "I think she'll be just fine."  I said. As it turned out we got a priority approach to Phoenix and were on the ground in 25 minutes.  

We made it to the restaurant in plenty of time and snapped this picture before Dee arrived.  Now those of you who don't know me, if you remember the Dr. Beaver Inspector photo you will understand that this is not my real hair (or Callie's).

When Dee got to the restaurant we were hiding at the bar which is kind of around the bend from the entrance. It was kind of dark with a little back lighting so if you did see us from the entrance it would be kind of a silhouette and it would be hard to make out our faces. The wait staff were in on the joke so they told Dee they didn't have a reservation for her. So while Dee was being upset about the missing reservation we had the waitress take her a drink and say that those ladies at the bar wanted to buy her a drink. You could see her straining to figure out who we were and there was absolutely no recognition on her face. In fact our fearless police chief was hiding behind Brenda. She thought Brenda had hired some strippers! We started walking toward her and she wouldn't come out from behind Brenda. When she finally figured it out we all cracked up. We still laugh about it.  Brenda finally was able to pull off a birthday surprise for Dee!....and the blue far as I know she's still fine.

Thanks Vic for this great story and the fond memory. We were together camping in Colorado the year before this picture was taken and everyone...BUT BRENDA!!! cowboy hats when we were in Colorado Springs. I guess she was channeling her Tonto personality and was looking for feathers instead of hats!!

The medical update on Chemo-sabe for today can be summed up in one word: SLEEPING!!! She's just so pooped that she can hardly sit up so I just let her sleep on the couch. When she does wake up we play "culinary roulette"...all day, every day! It's a constant crap shoot! The union nurse took a little break today and fed her science fiction alter-ego and went to see "Star Trek." Are any of you Trekies? I liked the movie, but I'm easily entertained with lots of action and special effects!! Ha!

Thanks again Vic for the Texas entry...does anyone else have some ideas about this one?

Nurse Dee

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Our First "TEXAS" Entry

Hi Everyone...while Brenda sleeps and sleeps and sleeps and sleeps here on the couch (this round of "CURE Juice" has really kicked her butt)...our one and only Michele has e-mailed me with our first...and hopefully not the last..."TEXAS" contest submission. 

Michele added these comments:

So here is my first Texas entry, or perhaps it is more of an apology for the "unedited" version of this photo I submitted back in April. Regardless, this beauty is titled "Only as big a state as Texas could have a flag large enough to cover Chemo sabe's .........."

For all the creative and resourceful VP's that want to keep us in laughs...just send me your submission photo at along with your comments and I'll make the post for you. It's just that simple!

So from "Sleeping Beauty" and Nurse Dee...the challenge is on.

Monday, May 11, 2009

The New Contest is Here!

OK VP''s time to stimulate those creative juices of yours and announce our second contest. We just had so much fun and so many great laughs with the first one that we HAD to start another. Michele helped us think of some contest possibilities so I think we'll have a few more opportunities for you all to keep us in laughs.

So without further a-do...let me introduce the mind bending, humor laden contest theme for the month of May. We'll announce a new contest each month while we're stuck here in Houston...we sure hope as many of you as possible will help keep us amused.   

The new theme is:


That's it...just TEXAS! We thought up some things that would define that a little more but we thought that was too restrictive for the amazing creative juices of our village. 

Brenda has also created the "Village Academy Awards" for the performances you all put forth in the "Bald is Beautiful" contest. We'll get those posted in the next few days. She did a great job.

So VP's...go nail this one to the tex-mex, BBQ, long horn steer, twangy talking, hot & humid, flat as a pancake, crazy driver, horrible road wall! We're waiting on the edge of the couch for your responses.

OH! I suppose you also want a medical update on our Chemo-sabe...OK...OK! Here's the "bullet...Nurse Dee style." 

Round 2 of chemo is that we have some experience with how Bren reacts, it isn't such a crap shoot and we know what to expect. As with round 1...Brenda is really pooped. The stuff just wipes her out. She spent yesterday on the couch sleeping. She was really out. I had way too many Starbucks. Is that possible?  (Thank you from the bottom of my caffeine-laden heart for the Starbucks cards...LOVE EM!) I was "Whorl Wind Whanda" and dusted the floor, mopped, did all the laundry, cleaned the toilet, did all the dishes, worked out, and sanitized as many surfaces as I could get at...all the while our gal snored away. 

Then there is always the fun game of "culinary roulette." (Thank you Vicky for that wonderful's PERFECT!) In retrospect, yesterday worked out pretty well and she got some more common place things down...chicken/cheese crisp, and 3 cheese tortellini with Italian sausage and marinara sauce. To Brenda's ever changing taste buds, they just don't taste ANYTHING like she remembered. Now that's sad!

Tonight she goes in for a Neulasta shot...a long acting white blood cell booster...that should work at keeping her counts up. Then on Thursday we have to go in for my PICC line dressing change test. I even woke up around 3:00 am running over the dressing change steps!!! I take my nursing duties VERY seriously!!

Lots of doctors appointments are in the making so the "team" can weigh in what the next steps in "the CURE" should be. She'll have another CT scan around May 22nd so everyone can see how the tumors have reduced and are otherwise responding. They are GOING DOWN IN SIZE!!! Good news, good news.

So that about wraps it up for now. Go get those wonderful creative juices flowing and think TEXAS!!! We'll laugh about this topic...with your help...until May 31st. We are sitting on the edge of the couch waiting for your entries.

Nurse Dee & Chemo-sabe